Sorry, couldn’t resist the Kings X reference. Also, I may have already told this story—I couldn’t remember and didn’t want to research it. If I have, hopefully I’ve improved upon it.
Years ago, when I lived in Seattle, I worked for a large corporation. It was Easter week, and I overheard two coworkers having a conversation about the holiday, and discussing whether or not they celebrated it. Both said no. “What’s the big deal?” said one woman. “It’s just some guy that died on a cross.”
I’ve never forgotten that. It saddened me. I thought, If only you knew what happened during that moment. You would not be so indifferent (or even mocking) toward it.
The story of Jesus on the cross is much read during this Easter season, but what gets overlooked are the verses following that passage, some of the most shocking words imaginable (Matthew 27:45).
At noon the sky turned dark and stayed that way until three o’clock. Then about that time Jesus shouted, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?”
Some of the people standing there heard Jesus and said, “He’s calling for Elijah.” One of them at once ran and grabbed a sponge. He soaked it in wine, then put it on a stick and held it up to Jesus. Once again Jesus shouted, and then he died.
At once the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, and rocks split apart. Graves opened, and many of God’s people were raised to life. Then after Jesus had risen to life, they came out of their graves and went into the holy city, where they were seen by many people.
With apologies to those who lost loved ones during the Wars or 9/11, if that happened today, it would be the most shocking and frightening event of our lifetimes. For three hours, life would not grow; we would think it was the Apocalypse. Yet we are told this actually happened.
I sometimes think about what actually took place on the cross. I will never really understand it in all of its significance. But it was enough to turn the sky dark and give the people a real life The Walking Dead moment. One thing’s for sure, it wasn’t just a dead man on a cross. Rocks don’t split for that.